Powering Family Traditions – Dustin and Kyla Estes
Dustin and Kyla Estes are proud to be raising their daughters, Amya and Allie, on their cow-calf farm in #AgriReady Bollinger County near the rural community of Bessville. Dustin and Kyla both have off-the-farm agricultural careers to earn a living, but they believe that the life they love is made on the farm. By encouraging their daughters to learn and contribute daily on the farm, they are #PoweringFamilyTraditions.
Dustin works at the Co-op Service Center in Jackson as a commercial applicator of dry fertilizer where he also sells and distributes propane. Kyla works in sales at her family’s business, Mouser Steel, in nearby Patton. Dustin and Kyla both grew up in the area, each on their own family’s cow-calf operation and both enjoyed showing cattle as members of 4-H and FFA. Today, they raise quality, commercial replacement heifers from their cow-calf pairs in partnership with Kyla’s family. Their goal is to feed out their own steers, but the farm will need more space to be able to diversify to that revenue stream.
In 2019, Dustin and Kyla were able to build their dream home on the family farm.
“I love looking out and seeing the view of the farm,” Kyla said. “Sometimes I see a problem on the farm looking out my kitchen window, but I have also solved a lot of problems looking out the same window.”
Some of what Dustin and Kyla can see from their home are their daughters, Amya and Allie, learning to love family traditions and life on the farm just as much as they do. The girls keep their bottle calf projects not far from the house so they can learn responsibility and independence during evening feedings and cattle work. Amya and Allie are official gate openers and they each get to name and number their own cows. Dustin and Kyla are proud to take care of their cattle herd.
Cattle are one of the top three agriculture industries contributing to the economy of #AgriReady Bollinger County. In total agriculture, food, forestry, and related industries generate $171 million in economic output, 1,325 jobs and over $85 million in household income in rural Bollinger County.
“We take better care of our animals than we do ourselves sometimes because it is the right thing to do,” Kyla said.
Amya and Allie are both active in Girl Scouts and 4-H where Kyla serves as a volunteer leader. Dustin and Kyla have served on the Missouri Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and are now active on the Bollinger County Farm Bureau Board where Dustin is president and Kyla is the secretary. They are also members of the Southeast Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, an affiliate of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.
Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Cattlemen’s Association are both partners of Missouri Farmers Care.